Baileys toast historic double success

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Victory bowlers Charlie and Rosemary Bailey will make history when they travel to Hayling Island for the English Indoor Bowls Association Champion of Champions final.

They are the first husband and wife to both qualify for the last-16 of the prestigious national competition.

Many top international bowlers will be locking horns from Friday, January 30 to Sunday, February 1 at Warner Leisure Hotels Lakeside Coastal Village.

For the Baileys it will be a special occasion.

Rosemary previously qualified to play at Lakeside in the last 16 of the event two years ago and went on to reach the quarter-finals.

But it is the first time Charlie has progressed to this stage.

Rosemary said: ‘We are a bit chuffed. It will be exciting. We are going to go and enjoy it.

‘It’s only down the road but we are going to make a nice weekend of it.

‘We both won the Victory club singles last winter and then we had to win through the area rounds to qualify.’

Former Commonwealth and world champion Mervyn King and 2014 ladies’ world indoor champion Katherine Rednall will be among the big names taking part.

However, Charlie feels the toughest test will be adapting to the conditions.

He said: ‘I’ve played 25 years indoors and the carpet at Lakeside is very heavy compared to normal.

‘We play on quite a quick carpet at Victory.

‘When 95 per cent of your games are on a quick carpet it’s hard work to find the pace of it.

‘You have to find it in your first game, very quickly.

‘The second game should be a lot easier for whoever gets there.

‘You will have the feel of your carpet in your arm by then.’

Charlie is not one to look too far ahead in terms of the draw.

But his vast experience in the game tells him there is no reason to be intimidated by the big names on show, with so much down to who gets on a roll on the day.

He said: ‘You cannot stand on the mat and think I am going to win today. That’s the beauty of the game.

‘In 2009, in the men’s national fours in Nottingham, we were up against Greg Harlow – the world number one.

‘He had his full England rink with him in the final.

‘But they only got six singles and were very gracious in defeat.

‘On the bank, nobody gave us a chance.

‘With four England players they should have wiped the floor with us but in bowls you just never know what will happen.’

Rosemary’s last-16 match gets under way at 4pm on Friday, January 30.

She faces Penny Cresswell from Poole, with the prospect of meeting 2013 world indoor champion Rebecca Field in the next round.

Charlie takes on Warwickshire’s Andrew Smith in his opening match at 10am on Saturday.

Entry to the first-round matches on Friday, beginning at 4pm and 8pm, is £2.

Day tickets are available for Saturday and Sunday for £8.50. This includes a two-course lunch.

Tickets can be reserved by calling Lakeside Coastal Village on (023) 9246 3976.